Apple today issued a strongly-worded legal smackdown to Lodsys, the so-called patent troll that issued its own legal threats to a handful of independent Apple iOS developers 10 days ago.
In a letter sent to Lodsys CEO Mike Small, copied to developers, and subsequently leaked to the entire internet, Apple’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel Bruce Sewell made it very clear that he was not going to let this one pass.
“Get away from her, you bitch,” he wrote, flexing the metal muscles in his exo-skeleton mecha suit.
“Apple is undisputedly licensed to these patents and the Apple App Makers are protected by that license. There is no basis for Lodsys’ infringement allegations against Apple’s App Makers.”
That’s what he actually wrote.
“Because I believe that your letters are based on a fundamental misapprehension regarding Apple’s license and the way Apple’s products work, I expect that the additional information set out below will be sufficient for you to withdraw your outstanding threats to the App Makers and cease and desist from any further threats to Apple’s customers and partners.”
Sewell’s letter goes into a fair bit of technical and legal detail, but the over-riding message is crystal clear: We’re standing behind our App Store developers. They are covered. Threaten them further at your peril.
The letter was greeted with delight by nervous developers, who had spent an anxious few days waiting for something – anything – to emerge from Apple HQ.
This is unlikely to be the end of the saga. Lodsys may yet respond, and may even call Apple’s bluff. So be it: Let their lawyers fight Apple’s lawyers in the courts. Good luck with that.
The most important thing is that the indie devs can breathe easier, and continue to indie-ly dev their wares without fear of being wiped out by a lawsuit none of them could ever afford to fight. Apple has stepped into the ring now, mecha suit and huge mountain of cash and all. Lodsys: beware.